NASA TV Back on Air for Soyuz Crew Landing Coverage

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured relocating from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Sept. 28, 2021.
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured relocating from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Sept. 28, 2021.

NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of a trio of Russian spacefarers.

The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko will make its deorbit burn at 11:41 p.m. EDT to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 12:35 a.m. (10:35 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Russian Trio Nears Departure, Rest of Crew Busy with Research, Lab Upkeep

The ten station inhabitants are gathered together in the Unity module for a meal and a portrait. In the front row (from left) are, Mark Vande Hei, Klim Shipenko, Pyotr Dubrov, and Megan McArthur. In the back row (from left) are, Akihiko Hoshide, Anton Shkaplerov, Thomas Pesquet, Yulia Peresild, Oleg Novitskiy, and Shane Kimbrough.
The ten station inhabitants are gathered together in the Unity module for a meal and a portrait. In the front row (from left) are, Mark Vande Hei, Klim Shipenko, Pyotr Dubrov, and Megan McArthur. In the back row (from left) are, Akihiko Hoshide, Anton Shkaplerov, Thomas Pesquet, Yulia Peresild, Oleg Novitskiy, and Shane Kimbrough.

A veteran cosmonaut will soon lead two Russian spaceflight participants on a ride through Earth’s atmosphere to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan this weekend. Meanwhile, the rest of the Expedition 65 crew stayed focused on a multitude of science, cargo, and maintenance activities throughout Thursday.

Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy will complete his third station mission when he undocks from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory on Saturday at 9:14 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. He, with the station’s two filmmaking guests Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko riding alongside him, will touchdown on the Kazakh steppe on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

Novitskiy has been packing the Soyuz spacecraft for several days with station hardware, science samples and personal items. He has also been practicing Soyuz descent techniques and training for the departure maneuvers on a Russian computer. The three-time station resident, with assistance from cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, has also been testing a specialized suit, the lower body negative pressure suit, that may help his body adjust quickly to Earth’s gravity after 191 days in space.

The station’s three NASA flight engineers had their hands full today with a host of research and lab upkeep activities in the orbiting lab’s U.S. segment. Megan McArthur swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then performed simulated robotic tasks for a cognition test. Shane Kimbrough had some light plumbing duties during the morning before continuing cargo work inside the Cygnus space freighter. Mark Vande Hei, who is staying on the station for nearly a year, filmed a video about safety in space for students on Earth then worked on life support and networking gear.

The two international astronauts, Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide, spent some time in their respective modules, Europe’s Columbus laboratory and Japan’s Kibo laboratory, ensuring smooth lab operations. Pesquet, of ESA (European Space Agency), serviced a variety of science freezers inside Columbus. Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reorganized stowage space inside Kibo making room for new science gear soon to be delivered on the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission.

Over in the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov worked on an exercise study and dismantled a radiation detector. Dubrov downloaded and checked radiation data then configured radiation sensors, or dosimeters.

Cargo Dragon Undocking Live on NASA TV

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle approaches the International Space Station for an autonomous docking to the Harmony module's forward international docking adapter
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle approaches the International Space Station for an autonomous docking to the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter on Aug. 30, 2021.

NASA Television coverage is underway for departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station. The spacecraft is scheduled for automated release at 9:12 a.m. EDT.

Ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will command Dragon to undock from the forward port on the station’s Harmony module. After firing its thrusters to move a safe distance away from the station, Dragon will execute a deorbit burn to leave orbit as it heads for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida around 11 p.m.

Dragon launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Aug. 29 from Space Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and arrived at the station the following day with more than 4,800 pounds of science, supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

International Astronauts Begin Spacewalk to Modify Station’s Power System

Astronauts (from left) Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet are pictured outside of the space station with their U.S. spacesuit helmet visors up during earlier spacewalks.
Astronauts (from left) Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet are pictured outside of the space station with their U.S. spacesuit helmet visors up during earlier spacewalks.

Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) have begun the first International Space Station spacewalk conducted by two international partner astronauts out of the station’s Quest airlock.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 8:15 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Hoshide is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing a spacesuit bearing red stripes and using helmet camera #22. Pesquet is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the unmarked spacesuit and helmet camera #20.

The spacewalkers will begin by working together to build the upper bracket of the modification kit then installing first the left strut followed by the right strut to the mast canister, the base, of one of the solar arrays on the port side of the station’s backbone truss structure. The support bracket will enable future installation of a third of six new International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs) to upgrade one of the station’s eight power channels. Known as 4A, the channel provides partial power to the U.S. Laboratory, the Harmony module, and the Columbus module.

This is the fourth spacewalk for Hoshide, the sixth spacewalk for Pesquet, and the station’s 244th spacewalk in support of assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Cosmonauts Wrap Up Second Spacewalk to Set Up Science Module

Russian spacewalkers (from left) Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov work over 250 miles above the Earth to configure the Nauka multipurpose laboratory for science operations. Credit: NASA TV
Russian spacewalkers (from left) Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov work over 250 miles above the Earth to configure the Nauka multipurpose laboratory for science operations. Credit: NASA TV

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos concluded their spacewalk at 6:16 p.m. EDT after 7 hours and 25 minutes. It was the second of up to 11 spacewalks to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space.

Novitskiy and Dubrov finished connecting television, rendezvous system and ethernet cables to the recently arrived Nauka module. They also installed handrails, jettisoned a cable reel, and installed a biology experiment on the Poisk module.

This was the 11th spacewalk this year and the 243rd overall in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrades. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 63 days and 23 hours working outside the station.

It is the third spacewalk for both cosmonauts, both of whom have now spent a total of 22 hours and 38 minutes spacewalking.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Cosmonauts Conclude First Spacewalk To Ready New Module

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov during a spacewalk to connect power and ethernet cables to the Nauka laboratory module.
Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov during a spacewalk to connect power and ethernet cables to the Nauka laboratory module.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos concluded their spacewalk at 6:35 p.m. EDT after 7 hours and 54 minutes. It is the first of up to 11 spacewalks to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space.

Novitskiy and Dubrov completed the major objective for today to connect power cables between the recently arrived Nauka module and the Zarya module to enable the routing of electricity from the U.S. segment of the station to Nauka. Checkouts of the two electrical power cable systems from Zarya to Nauka were successful. They also partially installed one new handrail.

Tasks deferred to a future spacewalk are to install two additional handrails to enable spacewalkers to maneuver to and about Nauka more easily, make the final connection for the ethernet cable the duo partially routed today, deploy a science investigation, jettison the ethernet cable reel following the completion of the connection, and take imagery of the Russian segment of the station.

The duo will continue work during a second spacewalk on Thursday, Sept. 9; coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the spacewalk expected to begin about 11 a.m. and last about five hours.

This was the 10th spacewalk this year and the 242nd overall in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrades. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 63 days, 15 hours, and 35 minutes working outside the station.

It is the second spacewalk for both cosmonauts, both of whom have now spent a total of 15 hours and 13 minutes spacewalking.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

SpaceX Cargo Dragon Successfully Docks to Station

Aug. 30, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragon vehicles; and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Aug. 30, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragon vehicles; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

While the International Space Station was traveling about 260 miles over the Western Australia, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the forward-facing port of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module at 10:30 a.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 30. Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA monitored operations.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station are:

Building bone with byproducts
REducing Arthritis Dependent Inflammation First Phase (READI FP) evaluates the effects of microgravity and space radiation on the growth of bone tissue and tests whether bioactive metabolites, which include substances such as antioxidants formed when food is broken down, might protect bones during spaceflight. The metabolites that will be tested come from plant extracts generated as waste products in wine production. Protecting the health of crew members from the effects of microgravity is crucial for the success of future long-duration space missions. This study could improve scientists’ understanding of the physical changes that cause bone loss and identify potential countermeasures. This insight also could contribute to prevention and treatment of bone loss on Earth, particularly in post-menopausal women.

Keeping an eye on eyes
Retinal Diagnostics tests whether a small, light-based device can capture images of the retinas of astronauts to document progression of vision problems known as Space-Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS). The device uses a commercially available lens approved for routine clinical use and is lightweight, mobile, and noninvasive. The videos and images will be downlinked to test and train models for detecting common signs of SANS in astronauts. The investigation is sponsored by ESA (European Space Agency) with the German Aerospace Center Institute of Space Medicine and European Astronaut Centre.

Robotic helpers
The Nanoracks-GITAI Robotic Arm will demonstrate the microgravity versatility and dexterity of a robot designed by GITAI Japan Inc. Results could support development of robotic labor to support crew activities and tasks, as well as inform servicing, assembly, and manufacturing tasks while in orbit. Robotic support could lower costs and improve crew safety by having robots take on tasks that could expose crew members to hazards. The technology also has applications in extreme and potentially dangerous environments on Earth, including disaster relief, deep-sea excavation, and servicing nuclear power plants. The experiment will be conducted inside the Nanoracks Bishop Airlockthe space station’s first commercial airlock.

Putting materials to the test
MISSE-15 NASA is one of a series of investigations on Alpha Space’s Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility, which is testing how the space environment affects the performance and durability of specific materials and components. These tests provide insights that support development of better materials needed for space exploration. Testing materials in space has the potential to significantly speed up their development. Materials capable of standing up to space also have potential applications in harsh environments on Earth and for improved radiation protection, better solar cells, and more durable concrete.

Helping plants deal with stress
Plants grown under microgravity conditions typically display evidence of stress.  Advanced Plant EXperiment-08 (APEX-08) examines the role of compounds known as polyamines in the response of the small, flowering plant thale cress to microgravity stress. Because expression of the genes involved in polyamine metabolism remain the same in space as on the ground, plants do not appear to use polyamines to respond to stress in microgravity. APEX-08 attempts to engineer a way for them to do so. Results could help identify key targets for genetic engineering of plants more suited to microgravity.

Easier drug delivery
The Faraday Research Facility is a multipurpose unit that uses the space station’s EXPRESS payload rack systems, which enable quick, simple integration of multiple payloads . On this first flight, the facility hosts a Houston Methodist Research Institute experiment and two STEM collaborations, including “Making Space for Girls” with the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council in Orlando, Florida.

The Faraday Nanofluidic Implant Communication Experiment  (Faraday-NICE) tests an implantable, remote-controlled drug delivery system using sealed containers of saline solution as surrogate test subjects. The device could provide an alternative to bulky, cumbersome infusion pumps, a possible game changer for long-term management of chronic conditions on Earth. Remote-controlled drug delivery could simplify administration for people with limitations.

partnership between Faraday and Girls Scouts allows troops to play a role in conducting the control experiments, including providing them with images of the same experiments that are happening in space. The studies involve plant growth, ant colonization, and the brine shrimp lifecycle.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars through Artemis.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Cargo Dragon Docks to Station Monday Live on NASA TV

This long-duration photograph shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching the Cargo Dragon spacecraft from NASA's Kennedy Space Center into Earth orbit. Credit: SpaceX
This long-duration photograph shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching the Cargo Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center into Earth orbit. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX Dragon is on track to arrive at the International Space Station Monday, Aug. 30, with an expected docking of the cargo spacecraft around 11:00 a.m. EDT. Live coverage will begin at 9:30 a.m. on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

When it arrives to the space station, Dragon will dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, with Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA monitoring operations. Dragon lifted off early on Sunday, Aug. 29, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cargo spacecraft with more than 4,800 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Cargo Dragon Launches for Monday Docking to Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Cargo Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Cargo Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Dragon successfully launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:14 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 4,800 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the International Space Station. At the time of the launch, the station was flying south of Australia.

NASA Television and the agency’s website continue to provide live coverage of the ascent. About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon separates from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and begins a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.

Learn more about station activities by following the mission blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Poor Weather Pushes Cargo Dragon Launch to Aug. 29

The Falcon 9 rocket form SpaceX with the Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop stands at the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX
The Falcon 9 rocket form SpaceX with the Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop stands at the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX

Due to poor weather conditions in the area for today’s planned launch of SpaceX’s 23rd Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX and NASA are now targeting liftoff for 3:14 a.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 29. Launch coverage will begin at 2:45 a.m. on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

A launch Sunday would lead to docking Monday, Aug. 30, for the Dragon to deliver important research, crew supplies and hardware to the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory. Docking coverage will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the spacecraft planned to arrive at the space station around 11 a.m.

Follow launch activities at the mission blog and @NASAKennedy and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.